1998 Chevy Lumina clicks when trying to start

Tiny
MIDDY
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 CHEVROLET LUMINA
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 11,100 MILES
Happy new year.

My '98 Lumina was clicking when trying to start the last couple days. Radio time would reset to 1am, so I was completely losing power. Figured bad battery connection.

Dug into the battery, discon both cables from terminals. Clean with wire brush, re-attach. Get in car, have zero power anywhere. So then I discon the negative cable and check voltage from neg battery post to frame and it shows 11.5 volts. From positive post (that cable still connected) to frame, I have 1.4 volts. There's 12.9 volts direct across the two battery posts.

Assumed that I should have 0 volts from either terminal to the frame with neg cable removed from battery. Am I wrong? I do fine with the old 60's hotrods but I get lost quickly on the newer stuff, so my troubleshooting technique or assumptions might be totally off base.

I've inspected both main battery cables, they look fine. 0 ohm resistance end to end. Haven't touched anything else electrical in my efforts so far. I did detach that fusebox near the battery so I could move it out of the way to remove the windshield washer reservoir to get to the battery, but that's it.
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Friday, January 1st, 2010 AT 12:47 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
MIDDY
  • MEMBER
Just had a thought - measuring voltage from neg post to frame w/neg cable disconnected, I'm probably completing a circuit somewhere & that'd account for my reading voltage.

Bah, I'm too rusty at this stuff now.
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Friday, January 1st, 2010 AT 1:12 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
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Check Ign Switch 1 in engine box. Also check two fusible links coming off starter large Pos. Batt cable. If good put tset light on solenoid term have helper start car does light glow when in start? If yes then solenoid faulty
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Friday, January 1st, 2010 AT 1:36 PM
Tiny
MIDDY
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I see those two fusable links. Assume if they're good, I should just have zero ohms across them? I'll go do what I can, have nobody around to assist for an hour or so. But it's likely an open like that, as entire car is dead. No lights, nothing, even when key is in accessory position.

Thank you for the reply.
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Friday, January 1st, 2010 AT 1:41 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
  • EXPERT
Was fuse good? Don't ues ohm on fuse links power will damage meter. Just check for voltage on either side.
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Friday, January 1st, 2010 AT 1:57 PM
Tiny
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Thanks again Doc. Wife commandeered me to get a building ready for family Christmas coming up Sunday. Will reply again when I have a chance to get back home & look at it.
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Friday, January 1st, 2010 AT 2:45 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
  • EXPERT
After 34yrs of marriage I do understand see you next week
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Friday, January 1st, 2010 AT 3:27 PM
Tiny
MIDDY
  • MEMBER
This ended up being a side battery connect that was just a little bit stripped out. I wasn't getting a good, solid connection for my ground side. Bought a couple new bolts but those stripped out too before it got good & tight. In the end, I bought a new battery, problem solved. I'll see if I can tap out that bolt hole on the battery a little bit, find a bolt that fits right, have a battery I can use if I need one.
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Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 AT 8:04 AM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
  • EXPERT
Good job those side post batts can be tricky even corrosin at cable hard to see. Stripping common problem sometime you can get it to tighten by wraping soilder on bolt and insert as long as some thred left in batt.
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Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 AT 7:51 AM

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